Definitely need some advice...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by oseven, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. oseven macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2008
    London, UK
    Ok, I'm sure I'm not the first to be in this kind of a dilemma, but I need some advice from people who have made the decision in the past and how they've found it.
    Basically, I've always used compact cameras, but always wanted a DSLR for the manual focus, interchangeable lenses, image quality etc etc. I'm a designer and generally creative, and have often been in situations where I could really use a DSLR but I have never been able to justify the cost as I assume I wouldn't use it enough. On the other hand, I might fall in love with photography and have to invest more money in the hobby :rolleyes:

    I don't wanna buy a standard, entry-level dslr as a 'happy medium', as if I'm going to get one I may aswell get a half decent one. I was looking at the Pentax K-x as a possibility.

    My question is has anyone been in a similar situation and taken the leap and bought one and found it to be the best choice?

  2. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Once you go SLR, you'll never go back :D

    In all seriousness, yes it's an addictive hobby and yes I was in a similar situation prior to buying my first DSLR. I have never looked back, it was a great choice and my only regret was that I floundered around with compact cameras for so long before taking the leap.

    The Pentax KX is a really nice camera. I used to shoot a Pentax K10D and Pentax makes fantastic, well thought out cameras. Their line of limited edition prime lenses are second to none, and you can get some really thin "pancake" primes for DSLR's that make for a very compact setup.

    If you really do see yourself as potentially going whole hog on the photography hobby someday, you could potentially save yourself some money in skipping Pentax though. It's not that they don't make top flight equipment, they do, but their lens selection is lacking compared to essentially every other manufacturer. You can buy off brand lenses such as Sigma or Tamron to fill the holes in Pentax's lineup, but many don't like that as their only option.

    You can't go wrong with the Kx, it's a very high quality camera with top end high ISO performance (for a APS-C sensor), and Pentax has some very high quality lenses to buy, especially when it comes to Primes. But if you see yourself wanting lots of high end constant f/2.8 zoom lenses, you might want to look at Sony, Canon, or Nikon as well.

    Good luck.

  3. emorydunn macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2006
    Austin Texas
    I would recommend starting off with either a Canon Rebel or a 50D. The Rebels have been making huge advancements in their capabilities and have the same feature sets as even the 5D MkII (well, video at least). The new Rebels are very nice cameras except for one thing: the controls sucks. They have the worst menu system ever and have a series of buttons instead of a back wheel. So if you want a more "traditional" DSLR control layout you can get a 50D which is one step down from the 7D.

    My advice would be to go to your local real camera store (not a Best Buy or something similar) and ask them for advice as well as play around with a variety of cameras.

    Just a side note, the newest Rebel is the T2i or the 550D in Europe.
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Before you make any big purchases, go to a pro camera store and talk with them. Pick up the cameras, see how they feel in your hands. A good store will start off by asking you questions. Are you interested in shooting sports, or in dark rooms with available light. Do you want to do portraits or still-life. Available light shooting or studio work. Are you interested in printing these shots, combining these shots, or displaying on a web page.... etc etc

    A good camera shop will then show you several models based on your answers. A really good shop will let you then 'rent' the one you like, and if you purchase it the rental will be deducted from the purchase price (so if you actually buy it, there is no extra cost to you).

    The expensive part of the hobby is not the camera, but the lenses... you will want more. Don't skimp on the glass. For the same photographer, by far the biggest factor in image quality is the quality of the glass, not the camera body. One way to save money is to get the same camera as your friend or relative - who has lenses that they will lend you until you build up your own collection.

    And contrary to some wisdom ;) some people do go back. A DSLR is big and bulky and sometimes you just don't want schlep that thing around. As a very high-end alternative look at the Leica M9. It's a $7000 point and shoot that for image quality will match or exceed many DSLRs. Some people think its better to have a limited feature camera that you actually use, rather than a full featured camera that collects dust.

    Your call - and good luck.
  5. JackHobbs macrumors regular


    Nov 1, 2009
    I'm a happy 50D owner. The P mode is there and will just hold your hand yet it has all the creative controls that you want. That said I agree with some of the earlier posts, go to a real camera shop and get some advice. I would also read some photography magazines for a few months. Read some reviews, decide what sort of pictures you think you will be going to take. Take some time over the decision. The camera has to suit you so you will need to decide what you want to do. Once you have a camera body, then a few lenses ... you tend to end up with one brand. It's not that you can't change but it will be very expensive. I own a few Canon lenses and much as I really like the look of a Nikon D300S, I would need a lot of money to buy the body and then replace the lenses I already have. Fortunately I am very happy with my Camera.

    You could also consider a more advanced point and shoot such as the Canon S90. This has a lot of creative control and yet is very compact (although the Leica does sound fun.)
  6. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Just to let you know, today's entry-level DSLRs are excellent image-making machines. There's really not much you can't shoot with any of the entry-level bodies, some things are more difficult than others, but really it's the lens that makes the difference, not the body. Save yourself some money and get the cheapest body you can, then spend that money on good glass.

  7. oseven thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2008
    London, UK
    Thanks for all the replies. I'll take up the advice and go try some out at a shop. Definitely take the plunge though :D so I'll just see which one suits me best.
    Thanks again
  8. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Olympus makes great cameras and you can get them resonably priced...
  9. NightGeometry macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2004
    Sorry - I just had to say that made me laugh, calling the M9 a point and shoot. I guess if you are very comfortable with a range finder you could call it that... If you aren't comfortable with a range finder I think you'd be hard pressed to find a less 'point and shoot' camera, especially for $7k.

    It's image quality should match a good dSLR, it has a full frame sensor in it, though apparently it can render skin tones a bit off.
  10. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    Why? I thought all point and shoots had only manual focus nowadays.
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You're right.... I forgot about the focusing bit. I was just thinking about the size and form factor, and the fact that it isn't a DSLR. My point - not well made - was that just because the Leica is not a DSLR does not mean that it takes inferior photos....

    Glad I could lighten up your day though :)

    And the Blackhawks win in OT....
  12. NightGeometry macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2004
    I hope I didn't come across as sarcastic - I think I got what you meant, it just made me smile. A lot :)
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Nothing wrong with sarcastic... I try to be sarcastic at least once per day....:D

    I would love to borrow that Leica, though. I bought a Mamiya 7 II just as I started using film less and less.... great timing, eh?
  14. NightGeometry macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2004
    I was very close to buying one recently, but the thought of all that money for just a camera...
  15. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    If you don't have a burning need to get a camera right now, you may wish to wait until the end of the summer (northern hemisphere anyway) to see what happens at Photokina. There are a lot of major manufacturers with some very nice cameras that are quite long in the tooth at the moment (Canon 1DsIII & 50D, Nikon D700 & D90, various Sony thingamajigs, and perhaps Pentax might announce something this year, though don't hold your breath).

    Pentax has some great things going for it. I think that the K7 has a lot of very strong points (weather sealing, excellent viewfinder, in-body IS, etc). Their collection of classic prime lenses can't be beaten.

    The trouble for Pentax is that developing new DSLRs & lenses costs a lot of money, and they just don't have the resources to compete with the big boys anymore.

    It seems to me that in the last year or so, mirrorless interchangable lens cameras have really made the major camera companies take a long look at what they're doing. Panasonic & Olympus have reaped the rewards of trying something new. Samsung & Sony are on their heels, and others will certainly follow.

    Anyway, as others have said, the best thing you can do is go to a pro shop and talk to them about what you're trying to do. You may be able to spend a few weekends renting different systems to see what you're most comfortable with...
  16. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    I'm sorry but I have to disagree with this statement in bold. While I definitely prefer the feel of the new menu system and using the scroll wheel I definitely do NOT think the control sucks (at least on my XSi). I prefer my XSi's controls compared to a 40D where you can't even see the info on the back. OP, if you're serious about getting a DSLR just try them out yourself and decide.

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